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Question Number: 30465

Other 5/29/2016

RE: all of the above Under 17

Denis of Toronto, Ontario Canada asks...

Played and coached at a high level for years.
To my knowledge it is not very difficult to become a an official here in ontario canada.

I am wondering through ref training and courses are they trained on what is a foul and what is not? For example:

Do that accompany top officials to games and shadow them?

Do they watch video and get tested on whats a foul and whats not a foul? or more specifically... what is a caution, what is a automatic yellow? or what is a caution before a red and then finally what is an automatic red?

From what i have seen in my 40 some years of experience as a player and coach. Most refs pay a small fee for a few classes and get their licenses. Most come on the field uneducated, inexperience and with horrible ego's so they never ever listen to even constructive criticism. Most just want to do their job and not be bothered. Meanwhile the integrity of the game and safety of players is not a priority.

please provide some feedback, never been on your site

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Denis
Thanks for your observation. Refereeing is not unlike playing in that many players also come on the field of play uneducated and inexperienced. Many have built up what I refer to as tacit knowledge gained from playing the game. Others have limited knowledge based on what is learned from courses and with a limited playing knowledge. Over a period of time all referee gain experience and find a suitable level which is determined through evaluation by observers etc. Not unlike players there are differing grades and abilities with the more progressive and able referees getting promoted. Those referees that show a desire to learn, accept constructive criticism and put in significant effort into their progression do advance if they show the required abilities .
Unfortunately there is a cohort that is somewhat unconcerned about learning and progression. The challenge is that the game has an acute shortage of officials so those officials do get allocated games. For those official they tend to get allocated games at the lower end of the scale in term of degree of difficulty, importance etc. Now every game is important yet with a pyramid structure in both games and referees assignors do their best to match officials and games.
Now most associations are endeavouring to improve refereeing through more education which is compulsory. Referees are obliged to attend a certain number of training and education clinics to retain their licence. In addition to that there are mentorships, coaching and instruction. What effect it is having is always a matter of opinion. In our group of referees we have five different grades and also differing levels of abilities. We also know that referees are observed regularly and where there are ongoing complaints from teams the referees are constantly assessed with poor marks in games resulting in a demotion. Poor foul recognition, lack of appropriate player discipline are just some of the factors that result in loss of marks.
Now as a final comment I would make the point that we perceive the world according to our own perspectives but we also can become blind to seeing the world according to how other people see it or even in wanting to explore reality if it does not suit our agenda. Referees are human. The humanness of their perceptual system lets them down with its inherent limitations. As does ours. Sometimes decisions go in your favour and other times it seems like the world is out to get us and our team which is just like life. Most referees are out there to do the best they can and they do make mistakes. Sometimes those shortcomings are due to poor positioning, unseen incident, lack of experience. We also would like our games to be refereed by a David Gantar yet unfortunately that is not possible so we are left with AN Other who for by various reasons has become a referee doing the best that he can in that game.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Denis
welcome to the site!
Hmm feedback?
Well you are in luck, this site was DESIGNED to exchange and process information among participants, unlike the pitch during an ongoing match.

The answer to your questions is:

- one of TIME!
- one of resources
- one of opportunity

To develop skills, enhance technique be it at coaching, playing or officiating takes time and commitment. If one learns bad habits early they become ingrained, hard to break later, so quality training and instilling good habits is essential from the beginning.

The reasoning by a parent to take up the whistle to ensure his kids can play or a youth who tries to make some pocket change does not change the fact it is a job and accountability and responsibility are part of the equation even if limited knowledge is where they are on the learning curve. I often referee youth or adult matches as a single official due to a lack of available officials. Many officials start and then leave due to the outside touchline pressure or develop a thick-skin, some unfortunately developing a chip on the shoulder or a defensive countenance that is not necessarily in the best interest of the game. Often duality of coaches who are also referees can create arrogance or derisive behaviour towards other referees.

No referee officiates effectively without integrity, compassion, an awareness and understanding of the LOTG at whatever level of experience they might be training at. A modicum of respect and a grasp of fair play, a degree of effort at staying with play, an accountability for their actions and an acceptance of the responsibility for the safety and well being of the players . I have officiated thousands of games and I can live with every decision right or wrong. To think you, in over 40 year,s have not encountered referees with similar attributes is a shame. It is perhaps an indictment of the quality of the leagues or associations you participated in?

Canada soccer has national, provincial, regional and community associations and leagues. Each with various programs designed to enhance the skill set of the participants. Only a select few receive ongoing mentoring and competitive training You are correct a willingness to participate and a small fee often refunded by some associations to begin the journey. The shortage of those willing to participate often you get who you get, certainly not world cup class but think on the number of coaches or players who are not world cup class and you get a feel at the various levels of expertise that exist within the sport.
We can calmly set about our Ps and Qs in a less controversial fashion then the inflamed touchline rhetoric often disused as "constructive criticism" which in my opinion is at best an oxymoron given the emotive state of when this information is most often being distributed.

When I coach youth travel teams I make it mandatory for the players to take and pass the referee entrance exam. I strongly urge you to take the adult referee entry course. See how your association with the league follows up with training, assessments, peer sharing and mentorship? See if you have access to seminars weekly or monthly training sessions?

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